Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Reducing College Costs Starts from Within

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Reducing College Costs Starts from Within

Article excerpt

College costs have outpaced the rates of inflation for many reasons. One way to curb these costs is to find better and more cost-efficient ways to do things.

The paradox is that as the economy has worsened, the cost of a college education has steadily increased, affecting those least able to afford one. At some point this bubble will burst especially because costs have consistently outpaced the annual rate of inflation. This is not a startling revelation. It is time to take action and follow the advice of Winston Churchill: "It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."

We cannot blame everything on the government, the economy or fiscal or monetary policies. The economic cycle will rebound at some point but not just yet. As the Consumer Price Index increases each year, it has been far from the 5 percent annual increases in college costs that have prevailed over the same periods. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that from 2000 to 2010 the annual inflation rate ranged from -0.4 percent to 1.6 percent.

The good news is that a college education is available to those willing to forgo the more expensive schools and opt for a less expensive university. Why should students, especially from middle class or poor families, be denied a quality education because it is beyond their financial means to pay for it?

Before becoming a financial aid consultant I held a variety of senior positions in financial management and consulting from which I learned many valuable lessons. One of the most valuable lessons was from Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a leader known for his methodologies that helped organizations improve efficiency and quality while reducing costs. After reading his book "Out of the Crisis" and attending his seminar, I gained a stronger understanding of how to use his tools to make meaningful process improvements that literally saved my employers millions in operating costs. This training along with external networking and feedback, made constant process improvement an effective management tool.

Furthermore, changes typically were made internally at minimal costs.

The following approaches are worth considering:

* Set realistic short- and long-term goals. …

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